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Packing Luggage


Luggage and Packing

Checking bags at the airport should be straight forward.  Pay attention to the process to make sure the tags on your bags indicate your intended destination.  We provide a few, simple recommendations for helping the airlines successfully deliver your luggage.


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Travel Advice - Checking your bags at the airport

If you intend to check baggage, try to avoid checking in at the last minute.  Even if you make the flight, your bag may not.  If you miss the airline's check-in deadline and your baggage is delayed or lost, the carrier might deny liability for your bag.

 Remember that the expense of checking a bag is no longer included in the ticket cost of domestic airline flights and checking a second bag usually costs more than the first.  Ask your airline their pricing policy.  While most airlines allow you to check one bag to Europe and other international destinations free of charge, checking a second bag will cost you.  In addition, heavy  bags can require a substantial fee.  See our article on the ins-and-outs of luggage for more details.

If you have a choice, select flights that minimize the potential for baggage disruption. The likelihood of a bag going astray is lowest with a non-stop flight or a direct/ through flight (one or more stops, but no change of aircraft)  and increases with each of the following modes of air travel:

  • An in-system connection  (change of aircraft but not airline)
  • An interline connection (change of aircraft and airlines).

Before you transfer your bags to the airline at check-in,

  • Remove airline luggage destinations tags left over from previous travel. 
  • Make sure that you have attached tags to your luggage identifying it as belonging to you. 
  • Ff you do not have permanent identification tags, the airline will provide temporary tags for you to fill out and attach. (See our article on Luggage identification tags


The airline will put new baggage destination tags on your luggage and give you the stubs to use as claim checks.

  • Count your stubs to make sure that you have received one for every bag checked.
  • Each tag has a three-letter code and flight number that show the baggage handlers the flight and  destination airport  for your luggage. 
  • Double-check that  the tags show the correct destination before your bags are taken behind the counter at check-in.
  • Keep the claim checks until your bags are returned and you have checked the contents.
    • At some airports, where theft is a problem, you may be asked to show your claim checks before you can remove luggage from the baggage claim area.

If you will be re-entering the United States  and  must change planes for travel to your final destination, your bags will be checked to the airport  where you re-enter the U.S.

  • In this case, you must clear Immigration and Customs before continuing with your journey.
  • Doing so requires reclaiming your luggage, clearing customs and, then, rechecking your luggage.
    • Usually, the airlines provide personnel and the facilities to check your luggage immediately after passing through Customs.
    • t has been our experience that the Transportation Security Agency's security procedures at U.S. airports for re-checking luggage after passing Customs are very stringent. 
    • Expect long lines and searches of your luggage for prohibited items.

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